Taxi Talk Magazine December 2015


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December 2015 / January 2016 combined edition

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TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 571 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY December 2015 / January 2016 TAXI MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN MELBOURNE Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY christmas in melbourne The centrepiece of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival, City Square has been transformed into Christmas Square, a magical forest offering festive fun for the whole family. By day, discover nutcracker soldiers, interactive candy canes and get a free photo with Santa. An interactive Intel Christmas installation will also offer an exciting glimpse of the future. By night, enjoy soundscapes and Christmas lighting.


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VICTORIA TAXI CLUB providing cover to the taxi and limousine industry since 1998 Season’s Greetings to all within the Victorian Taxi Industry VICTORIA TAXI CLUB 128 Errol Street North Melbourne tel 9326 3808 fax 9326 4808 email


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C 6 12 24 27 28 34 ontents Competition already here Everyone in the industry is competing with each other. TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 MAGAZINE EDITOR Toni F. Peters FOUNDER Stanley F. White PUBLISHER Trade Promotions Pty Ltd Government & compensation Will they legislate a licence buy-back? ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Mrs Toni Peters Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: ....................................... 0400 137 866 Mobility lines blurring Email: ............................. Website: .......................... Mobility product providers are moving closer together. DISPLAY ADS Licence Statistics All copy, editorial and artwork must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Advertisement sizes and costs can be downloaded at Monthly Victorian taxi & hire car licence comparison. Taxi Services Commission CLASSIFIED ADS $30 for 35 words, $60 for 70 words, etc. Email or Mail your classified advertisement by the 15th of the month prior to publication date, together with your payment. Updates on government issues effecting the industry. Driverless Cars SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS 1 year = $35 A look at these cars’ advantages and disadvantages. PAYMENT OPTIONS • • Via PAYPAL to Direct Deposit to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY proudly supporting these organisations since inception..... • Views expressed in any article in Taxi Talk magazine are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any opinions, information, errors or omissions in this publication. To the extent permitted by law, the publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising from the contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damage. Advertisements must comply with the relevant provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Responsibility for compliance with the Act rests with the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement. Taxi Talk magazine has agreed to advertise taxi clubs because those clubs have stated that they and their products comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to insurance for taxi operators. Taxi Talk magazine has not independently verified these taxi clubs’ compliance, and give no warranty and make no representation as to whether the taxi clubs are compliant. Operators should satisfy themselves as to a taxi club’s compliance with laws and regulations through their own enquiries. These advertisements do not constitute recommendations by Taxi Talk magazine that operators purchase insurance products from taxi clubs. Taxi Talk magazine does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by any operator because a taxi club or its product or service is non-compliant. TAXI MAGAZINE Taxi Talk magazine is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. COPYRIGHT © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2015. All rights reserved. The “Taxi Talk – Voice of the taxi industry” heading and logos are trademarks of Stanley F. White. Copyright of articles and photographs of Taxi Talk magazine remain with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry December 2015 / January 2016 |3


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EDITOR’S DESK TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY Do you recall that during the Roman Empire the wealthy used chairs on posts carried by subjects to transport them? Then later on the wealthy, elite Normans were able to hire a riding horse as their transport? And did you know that the right to ply for hire in London was first given to the watermen of the river Thames in the twelfth century? In those day’s all the royal palaces and large mansions fronted the river Thames. In the 1500s the Dutch introduced the Hackney carriage - a four wheeled horse-drawn carriage. These were popularised in London by Queen Elizabeth I. These carriages went through many stages until the 1830s when the Hansom Cab was introduced. It had two wheels, a sheltered hood and a seat for the driver on the roof and a clockwork meter. Technology changed the on-demand vehicle industry in the 1900s when the first motorised cab was put on the road. There have been many changes since then to the motorised taxi - changes in fuel i.e. LPGas, electric - changes of vehicles to keep up with the manufacturer’s designs - changes to taxi livery, meters, safety devices and dispatching equipment. Now we are at the forefront of seeing our industry once again turned upside down by technology, primarily the introduction of apps and the advent of driverless vehicles. So what’s next? One visionary, Tommaso Gecchelin (an Italian engineer and industrial designer) sees transportation of the future as modular, boxy vehicles that are flat-sided, identically sized and can link up and disconnect on the run. Next is the name of his conceptual autonomous electric vehicles and Gecchelin predicts it will provide both on-demand rides and shared public transportation. Next is an advanced smart transportation system based on swarms of modular self-driving vehicles, designed in Italy. Each module can join and detach with other modules on standard city roads. When joined, they create an open, bus-like area among modules, allowing passengers to stand and walk from one module to another. MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 Proudly published in Melbourne 64 | September 2015 | December 2015 / January 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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Imagine a Next pod coming to your house in the morning to take you to work and then collecting another one or two people in your street. Then as you head towards the city it would collect more people and/or affix a few more pods along the way. No more one-person only driven cars in peak hour! The first concept was created in 2012 and since then a lot of research and development has been done. The 2015 design of Next is elegant, minimal and sleek, but also more aerodynamic, thanks to the new shape and the wheels integrated inside the structure. “The future of transportation is life in motion,” says Gecchelin. “The smart routing system of Next will autonomously drive the vehicles and join together modules, in order to redistribute passengers and optimise occupancy rate, cutting energy consumption and traffic footprint.” Gecchelin estimates Next will be up and running by 2020. For now we will just have to wait and see what happens next! Toni Peters Editor, Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry TT To all our advertisers, contributors, supporters and friends within the Victorian taxi industry 2015 has been another tumultuous year and let’s hope that 2016 sees some rewarding resolutions and the year is filled with happiness, health and prosperity. from the Taxi Talk team Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry December 2015 / January 2016 |5


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COMPETITION ALREADY HERE Can the taxi industry survive the onslaught of misinformation produced by politicians, the press and some people in the taxi industry? A popular argument asserts that the taxi industry needs more competition in order to get cheaper and better services for the travelling public. Most people who argue in this way do not, or do not want to, understand the fact that the taxi industry is a multi faceted industry made up of many participants and that self interest reigns supreme in many cases. It is a well established misconception that the Network Service Providers are synonymous with the taxi industry. This is a fallacy. The two largest Network Service Providers (Networks) in Melbourne do not operate any taxis and are in reality nothing more than a Call Centre, regulated and licensed by the government, to fulfil certain regulatory conditions. within in a couple of minutes because it is only the Network that is busy and not the actual taxi. There are many possible reasons why the phones are busy. It could be a fault in the telecommunication system, a lazy or inattentive operator on the phones, or the fact that there are just not enough operators on duty to take the calls. It is at this stage that a conflict of interest between the Network and the taxi operator becomes obvious. The Networks are first and foremost interested in making profits for their shareholders. Therefore the interest of the Network is often in conflict with a taxi operator who delivers the service to the public. Their interaction with the taxi user is limited to providing a platform that brings the user and the provider of the service together. When a customer rings for a taxi and finds that the number is busy he assumes that it is hard to get a taxi in that instant. Yet there could be a taxi available The radio network saves money when it has fewer staff answering the phones, whereas the taxi operator loses money and the taxi user misses out by not getting the service he deserves. By considering the above it becomes quite clear that the Network has, in reality, only one paying customer and that is the taxi operator who pays for the service of dispatching a taxi to the customer. Yet many people in and outside the industry, do not consciously think in this way, because originally the Networks were owned and operated by the taxi operators. When it is argued that we need more competition in the taxi industry we Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 6 | December 2015 / January 2016


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have to decide if we need more competition between Networks or between taxi operators and taxi drivers. In all these discussions about competition the taxi user is supposed to be the beneficiary. So how can the taxi user or the taxi operator benefit from a system that has a multitude of Networks competing with each other, when the customer can only ring one dispatch system at a time? If the taxi user has the choice between ten different Networks, that have an equal distribution of taxis, he can only access about 500 cars in Melbourne, and if we have 100 Networks the number of accessible taxis will be as low as 50. So, it becomes quite obvious that this is not in the interest of the taxi user nor is it in the interest of the taxi operator. comes clear that the present competition that we see between the Networks, which was been introduced on the advice of the Taxi Industry Inquiry, by our previous government is detrimental to the taxi user, taxi operator and driver. In the case of the taxi industry more is not better, on the contrary, it is worse. tors and drivers compete for taxi users. All this is done by the taxi industry in a government regulated environment and by obeying the law and paying taxes. So why do some people want to destroy an industry that has served the public well and provided a livelihood for many thousand, hard working and tax paying citizens? The best Christmas present that the State Government could give the Victorian taxi industry, would be to uphold the law and to pay more attention to the people who really are the industry. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Hans Altoff Taxi Owner/ Operator TT It is said that the taxi industry does not have any competition. Yet here we are competing with subsidised public transport, buses, community transport and private cars. Taxi operators compete with each other for drivers and both opera- For the most efficient and cost effective use of the taxi fleet all taxi users should have access to all available taxis at all times. Unfortunately this does require the will and co-operation of the government and the various Networks, including internet companies like Ingogo, Gocatch and Uber. The chances of this happening, especially with respect to Uber, are very remote. But our Government could achieve it by legislation. From the above discussion it beTaxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry TAXI finance We are accredited with over 30 banks and other lenders EASY CAR LOAN APPROVALS... NO TAX RETURNS REQUIRED* * conditions apply cheap rates best service fast approvals GAP COVER AVAILABLE cheap finance rates... ALL TAXI LICENCES & VHA CAR FINANCE all taxi vehicles (cars and vans, VHA vehicles, limos and others) Merry Christmas $ 30,000 yarrafinance experts in commercial finance Phone 96 Garden Road, Clayton (near Ikea) 9561 8876 December 2015 / January 2016 |7


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REGIONAL & COUNTRY FARES As part of the recent reforms to the taxi industry, taxi fares in regional and country Victoria have been deregulated. Taxi service providers (operators and networks or cooperatives) are permitted to set their own maximum fares, which must be notified to the Taxi Services Commission. The Essential Services Commission has the complex task of monitoring prices, costs and return on assets, and to identify potential misuse of market power. We have developed a taxi cost index to estimate the changes in the costs of providing country and regional taxi services. We then compare changes in notified maximum fares against changes in the taxi cost index. For the first year of deregulation, 201415, we observe large increases in taxi fares by some service providers. These increases significantly exceed our estimated change in taxi costs. The majority of increases are between 10 to 20 percent. Conversely, about 70 percent of operators left their tariffs unchanged in 2014-15. Notable changes to maximum fares include: • Alexandra introduced a flat fare of $10 during the day and $15 during the night for trips within the township of Alexandra. Colac replaced the late night and holiday surcharges with a new $5 fee that applies all weekend and during late night and holidays. Lakes Entrance kept all fares at the previously regulated level, but extended the period for the late night surcharge to apply from 6pm to 6am. Crown Cabs (operating in various locations) introduced a fuel levy of $0.30 per kilometre (effectively increasing the distance rates). By removing the booking fee and only slightly increasing the other components of its day fare, Morwell’s estimated fares for benchmark day trips actually decreased in comparison to the previously regulated fares. This was offset by significant increases in night fares. • • • 17 service providers notified new fare structures. These fares apply to 176 out of the 484 taxis in the regional and country zones. Four service providers notified fares increased greater than 20 per cent: Colac (45.5%), Alexandra (35.9%), Robinvale 27.3% and Cape Otway (20.1%) Service providers tended to increase the flagfall by more, relative to other fare components, affecting shorter trips more than longer trips. They also tended to increased fares more during the evening (6pm - 10pm) and night (10pm to 6am) compared to daytime fares. • We will continue to monitor and analyse fare increases in future years and report accordingly. Dr Ron Ben-David Chairperson, Essential Services Commission TT 8 | December 2015 / January 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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10 Hybrid Camry Altise in stock ready for immediate delivery!! Enquire now! $150 Merry Christmas from Berwick Toyota! Purchase a Hybrid Camry Altise and receive a $150 FUEL VOUCHER for all vehicles delivered before the 31st December. Berwick Toyota 751 Princes Highway, Berwick. Phone 9707 4455 $150 fuel card limited to one person per vehicle. Voucher will be presented upon delivery of vehicle. Offer ends 31/12/15. While stocks last.continued LMCT537 25305 next page Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry December 2015 / January 2016 |9


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JOBS BEING REDUCED The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) is calling for the protection of labour standards and a strategy on the future of work, with the development of new technology industries such as Uber. As a Senate inquiry into tax avoidance questions Uber and other companies, the Transport Workers’ Union says there is also a need to monitor the effect new tech entrants such as Uber are having in reducing conditions for employees and their plans to drastically reduce certain jobs altogether. “We urgently need a strategy to decide where quality jobs in the future will come from. Companies such as Uber are lowering labour standards by stealth by employing drivers as independent contractors without any of the benefits that generations of Australians have had, such as rights to sick leave, annual leave, maternity leave, retirement with dignity, minimum pay and protections against unfair dismissal,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon. “Uber is undercutting the already poor labour standards which exist in the taxi industry. We should be lifting standards not allowing them to be reduced even further,” he continued. The TWU is campaigning for rights for Uber drivers and intends to engage Uber and taxi drivers, whether contracted workers, employees or owner drivers, in the campaign. “We also need a strategy to decide whether we are willing to accept a future where many of the jobs humans currently undertake will potentially be obsolete, such as jobs involving driving with the advent of driverless vehicles,” he added. Uber, Google, Apple and other tech giants are designing driverless vehicles which some predict could end car ownership and wipe out jobs involving driving in a matter of decades. Tony Sheldon says, “There may well be positives to this scenario, such as reduced road deaths, but safety issues will not be eliminated given that technology is not infallible.” “There is also the inevitable catastrophic mismanagement of driverless vehicles which will no doubt occur just as currently some heavy vehicles are not maintained properly, leading to fatalities,” he continued, pointing to recent problems at Commonwealth Bank and other banks which saw customers unable to use ATMs and online banking. “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said it is an exciting time to be an Australian given technological advances, but this excitement must provide more than just a geek economy of foreign and Australian billionaires reaping huge profits whilst ripping apart the community,” he added. TT 10 | December 2015 / January 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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TAXI One of the oldest professions in the world. It is a word universally understood in most languages. It stands for independence and service. It is resillient, reliable, adjustable and remains true to the task. We all undertsand the words “First Cab off the Rank”. But we don’t always apply it to ourselves. We hope that the taxis have the freedom to run their business and serve the public without undue interruption which they are licenced to do. Everyone wants to control the taxi and the taxi is the only one providing the service. Let them ply for hire with real hope to supply a safe, lawful, responsible service to the public. May we all move forward with hope that the taxi can survive and provide the service as required with justice. Happy, Safe and Hopeful Christmas 2015 Allen Lang Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry M: 0418 343431 E: December 2015 / January 2016 | 7


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GOVERNMENT AND COMPENSATION Over the past ten years, respective State Governments have received tens of millions of dollars by commercialising the issue of taxi and hire car licences. Bracks, Brumby, Baillieu, Napthine and now Andrews - they’ve all been in on it. And it’s been a nice little earner. In excess of 600 MH licences as well as hundreds of Taxis – unrestricted, Green Tops, Maxi Cabs etc – have been sold/leased during this period at inflated prices. The Government has been glad to take money from all comers. You and I, existing industry operators, have dutifully handed over our hard earned savings to enjoy the privilege of servicing the travelling public. UberX, also serves the travelling public but – to date – has had no costs imposed upon it. UberX drivers also continue to evade their tax obligations! the findings by the Magistrates Court against UberX. Call me a cynic, but even if the Magistrates Court rules in favour of the Taxi Services Commission, the case will be appealed all the way to the High Court. In the meantime, the collateral damage will continue unabated. Small business operators will continue to see their life savings disappear before their eyes. At the same time, earning a respectful living in the industry will become increasingly difficult. This is blatantly unfair and very unAustralian. For the rest of us – get ready for 15% GST. Prior to the last election, the Labor Party wrote to the industry with its proposed policy regarding taxis/hire cars and the ongoing illegal activity of UberX. Labor pledged to set up… another committee (!) – The Ministerial Forum. Twelve months on, the Industry is still awaiting the outcome of the Forum! We are made to believe that the policy outcomes are dependent on Taxi standards need a shake-up, absolutely. Hire Cars have to become better organised and more customer responsive, absolutely. We, as an Industry, agree. The question is, how best can this be achieved ? Undermining Industry stakeholders is certainly not the best approach! The Government can’t continue to pretend that is on top of the issue. continued page 14 12 | December 2015 / January 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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CLUB BRUNSWICK TAXI Join the newest club in town.... TAXI COVER Third Party & Public Liability 3 Quality and Fast Repairs 3 Lower Annual Contribution on all vehicle types 3 Providing Third Party Certificate with Public Liability of $20,000,000 3 Income Lost for not at fault Discount for Green Top and Owner Drivers We are here 9380 6522 0403 621 291 Any advice we provide is of general nature only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider these matters and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you act on any advice. Call us today Fax: 9380 9411 | Industry E-mail: | 59 Weston Brunswick Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi December 2015 Street, / January 2016 |9


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GOVERNMENT AND COMPENSATION It can continue to try and regulate the failed Fels’ reforms or choose another path – legislate. In the famous words of Led Zepellin… Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There’s still time to change the road you’re on. And it makes me wonder. It makes me wonder whether: • • logic, justice and equity will ever descend upon our industry. the government is completely oblivious to the corrosive nature of the current inequities the government understands the long term damage being done to our country’s legal and tax institutions by allowing themselves to be ‘shirt fronted’ by litigious multinationals the government realises that an innovative new solution is required to address these unprecedented challenges. continued from page 12 The government can recoup this outlay by then leasing (PBO) licences to all and sundry – including Uber. It should be done in a way that recognises the investment made in taxi licences by thousands of Victorians who depend on that investment as passive income. • and those of us who do this as a career have half a chance of achieving a fair return on our time and money invested. All this can be achieved for about 5% of what it cost to compensate the East-West Link consortium! Thereafter, the same costs should be imposed on all operators. $2,500 rego fees for taxis, for example, should be history! If it’s good for the goose… It isn’t a complex gig. It’s been done in so many other Industries before. The changes should be designed to ensure: • • that all operators are competing on an even playing field existing operators are fairly compensated for investment made in good faith in government issued licences over many years the travelling public has a broad choice of service provider As both Labor and Liberal have presided over the current situation, Mr Andrews and Mr Guy are collectively responsible to come together, stop politicising the issue, ‘fess up to the fact that they have failed the industry and legislate an equitable solution. • The industry can be agile and adjust to customer expectations and fair competition will ensure that happens. To date, we have been privileged only to vacuous platitudes from both major parties. Time for government to step up, treat the industry and the travelling public with a little more respect and set up an industry architecture which allows operators who are dedicated to the rule of law, a just taxation regime and a sustainable industry, to have a fair chance of earning a living. George Kapnias Managing Director TT CHAUFFEUR DRIVE • As the saying goes, every crisis throws up new opportunities. The State Government needs to legislate the immediate buy-back of all hire car licences – MH, CH, SV – the lot. • Berwick Toyota is a family owned and operated dealership in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We are the fastest growing fleet team in Melbourne, and can service guests in all areas of Melbourne and country Victoria! We live and breathe our Mission 100 vision which encompasses: We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We look forward to helping you with your business in 2016. 100% satisfaction to 100% of our Guests 100% of the time 14 | December 2015 / January 2016 BERWICK TOYOTA 751 Princes Highway, Berwick Phone 9707 4455 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry from all the team at


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W HO OWNS YOUR INCOM E DATA? Your Taximeter Your Income Data Their Taximeter WHOSE INCOME DATA? When you own a Schmidt G4 Taximeter: • YOU OWN the confidential income data stored in your taximeter, and this income data fully remains your property. When you use a Cabcharge Fareway Plus Taximeter: • YOU DO NOT OWN the taximeter. It actually remains the property of Cabcharge or some other party. • DO YOU KNOW who actually owns the confidential income data stored in the Cabcharge Fareway Plus taximeter? • DO YOU KNOW who has access to this confidential income data? What should you do if your taxi network wants to remove your Schmidt G4 Taximeter? It is your absolute right to keep your Schmidt G4 taximeter. Cabcharge is under a legal obligation in Victoria to ensure that the new Fareway Plus fully integrates with the Schmidt G4 Taximeter. All over Australia, it is your absolute right to insist that your Schmidt G4 taximeter is kept in its rightful place on your taxi’s centre console. The Fareway Plus display unit can be mounted somewhere else, e.g. under the dash. If you wish we can mount it under the dash and out of the way for you. What should you do if you are feeling misled, pressured or bullied? You can report it directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Alternatively, call us and we can pass on your complaint. Schmidt Electronic Laboratories Pty Ltd Trusted by thousands of taxi operators & drivers for more than 35 years Any advice we provide is of general nature only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider these matters and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you act on any advice. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 2015 / January 2016 Address 153 Osborne Avenue, Clayton South, VIC 3169 | ABNDecember 20 005 631 710 Phone (03) 9546 6990 or 1300 132 422 | Email | Website | 11



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